After this afternoon, I will be bringing
my "baby" home from the vet with 5 less teeth! What I
thought was going to be a simple cleaning turned into something
much more complicated. I cannot feel any worse about this -- I
feel guilty for not taking care of him. He was not in
pain…I did not have any blatant signs. However, had I had
been more observant I may have been able to prevent this. I will
have to look at my beautiful large white cat (15 pounds!) for the rest
of his days with 5 less teeth knowing it was my fault that he had
to go through this. Please tell your readers how important dental
health is so no one else has to feel as bad as Alex (my cat) or I
do. Sincerely, Zandercat
Thanks for the important note! Regular dental care including
teeth cleaning at the vet is VERY important. Here is some
additional background on this...it all begins with tartar:
- Tartar is a mineral-impregnated bacterial plaque. It can
build up on any tooth. It accumulates with age and occurs most
often in cats that are fed moist food.
- As the Tartar accumulates around the junction of the gum with
the tooth, a niche is formed in which bacteria grow...
- The result of this bacterial infection are inflamed gums
- The inflamed gums then retract from the tooth and can become
- As the gum retracts the infection tracks down the outside of
the tooth root (periodontitis) and may discharge of pus
(pyorrhoea) from around the teeth.
- Antibiotic therapy is needed in severe cases and is then
followed by removal of the affected teeth.
- Periodontitis is a serious condition that results from the
immune systems' inability to continually fight the oral
These toxins can then enter the bloodstream and spread to
heart, kidney & liver
where they can cause more serious
Preventive care is the best care. - Simba
Helping a Kitten With Bad Breath
My kitten, Karma, is approx. 3 months old and is a typical kitten
but also very bright and loving. The problem is that she seems to
have very bad breath! Is this common or should I be
concerned..... Listerine Kitty's Mom
Dear Listerine Kitty's Mom,
Some bad breath is normal during the teething period in kittens.
In older cats the most common causes of bad breath are dental
plaque, tartar-induced gingivitis, and inflamed teeth. Check to
see if Karma has any sores
or inflammation in her mouth.
Dental problems are very serious and can cause all sorts of
Other causes of bad breath may include nasal infections (see
The Cat Flu
), feline acne
among others. It is also possible
that kitty may have some metabolic problems like kidney disease
or diseases of the stomach which lead to chronic vomiting
and the accompanying bad breath.
Your best bet is to begin with a dental care program, which
includes brushing of his teeth (click here
for tips on how to do this). Check with your
vet if you do not see an improvement. Simba
How to Brush Kitten's Teeth
Here are some tips to help you brush your cat's teeth.
First some background. Adult cats have 30 teeth, these are comprised of 12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars and 4 molars. Cats teeth
were made to tear into raw meat. This chopping of food cleansed
the teeth. Because domestic cats usually eat commercially
prepared foods, most never have the opportunity to slice up
large, tough food objects. As a result their teeth suffer from
the accumulation of tartar. The steps involved in getting your
cat to accept tooth brushing are similar to the gradual process
involved in introducing nail clipping. Here's how you can
- Familiarize kitty. Before you bring in the toothbrush, your
cat must be comfortable sitting on your lap while his mouth and
lip areas are massaged (be sure you do not poke the sensitive
gums with your fingernails).
- Next, place a dab of
Cat Toothpaste on your finger and let kitty taste it.
- The next day place a small amount of cat-toothpaste on a
normal toothbrush or the specially designed finger brushes
- The next day, brush one or two teeth in a circular motion.
Start with the canines (fangs) and those teeth just behind them.
Be sure to brush the adjoining gum line.
- Increase the number of teeth you brush every couple of
days.You need to eventually brush the rear teeth where plaque and
- Stop brushing when you decide to stop, not when kitty
wants to stop! If kitty figures out that fussing makes you
stop quicker, it will lead to a downward spiral where little
brushing is done.
- Brush for 30 seconds on the outside surfaces. Because cats do
not get much tartar on the inside surfaces you do not need to
- Stop each session and be sure to praise kitty. A little treat
may help out here.
I hope this helps! - Simba
Helping a Kitten with Injured Gums
I rescued a 9 week old kitten that appeared to be healthy except
for some type of injury to his front bottom gum area. He eats
well and acts fine. Is there something I should do to speed up
the healing process? It does not appear to bother him. I am not
in a position to take him to the vet. Susan
Soft or softer food might help by reducing the stress on the
gums, until you are able to get him the medical attention he
needs (remember also that he needs his shots,
so maybe you can plan to do this all
at once). Simba
Kitten with Loose Tooth
My name is Kanga, I am a 5-month old gray tabby. I have a loose
tooth and I was wondering if I should tell my mommy, 'cause I
do not want her to be concerned if it is not a problem. :-)
Kanga, the kitten
Kittens usually lose their baby teeth at 2 to 4 months of age. The new, permanent teeth begin to grow in around then and whole
process is complete at 5-6 months of age. The loose tooth
is perfectly normal. I would nonetheless encourage you to have
mommy to take you to regular dental checkups. Remind her also to
brush your teeth when they grow in. - Your Pal, Simba
My two kittens are teething. They frequently try to chew on my
fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Is there anything I can do to help
them…and me? Connie
Teething helps kitties relieve the discomfort of the tooth coming
in through the gums. A couple of tips:
- Put tape on electrical wiring so your little ones do not hurt
- Keep household chemicals out of her way.
- Give your little ones a few special toys to chew on:
- Soak chew toys in broth or rub them all over with your hands
(your kitten loves your scent and is more likely to chew
something that smells like you).
- You can also use a cold towel. It will helps relieve teething
pain. Tie a knot in a small clean towel, wet it, wring it out and
put it in the freezer to chill. Your kittens will love it!
Teething is a part of growing up, it is very important
continue to be supportive to your little ones. Keep me posted.
Kitten With Clicking Jaw
I have a kitten who is about 8 weeks-old. When he opens his mouth
big to yawn or eat, his jaw clicks. It does not seem to hurt him,
but I am concerned. What could this be? Scott
Congratulations on your new kitten. As to his jaw, it could be
nothing. At the same time it is possible your kitten may have TMJ
disorder (TMJ stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint). The disorder
occurs when the muscles that are used for chewing don’t
work in combination with the joints of the jaw due to a variety
of factors including misaligned teeth. Symptoms of TMJ may
include some of the following::
- Inability to comfortably open mouth
- Clicking, popping or grating-like sounds in the jaw
- Spasms, swelling or tenderness in various facial / neck
- A bite that looks / seems uncomfortable
Symptoms are sometimes temporary so time is often a good course.
One thing to consider is to avoid feeding your kitten any hard /
solid foods or treats. Soft foods can relieve pressure on the
muscles and can potentially alleviate the problem. Again your
kitten may have nothing wrong with him. That said, keep an eye on
the little guy and do consider going to a vet if you see him in
pain or in discomfort. - Simba